Fifteen substantial stories, including one original, from the popular author of the Dragonriders of Pern series and the Damia series. For dragonfans, the prize here will be the title piece, a new novella about a girl who communicates telepathically with dragons, featuring Lessa, F`lar, and other familiar characters. The remaining tales show to good effect the scope and texture of McCaffrey's ideas. Three of the SF yarns are set during the Khalian war. There are two fascinating variations of a scenario in which the Earth is subject to time slips, dropping at random in and out of different historical epochs. Also in an SF vein, human colonists unwittingly damage aliens born from plants, and computer ghosts become real. Other stories, in modes that veer from fantasy to mainstream, deal with African magic and the American Civil War; an extraordinary operatic performance; surrogate motherhood; and an old horse whose mistress is dying. A McCaffrey showcase, demonstrating the full range of her not inconsiderable talents and concerns.